Thinking About the Future While We Address Today’s Talent Needs

The article referenced in this blog post is available to read here on the WIRED website.

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What We Are Reading: Thinking about the future of work, AI, and the economy while we address the current talent needs in West Michigan

The accelerating use of technology is being seen in every industry and it is requiring a better educated and trained workforce. For instance, a West Michigan manufacturer and Talent 2025 CEO Council member with operations across the globe now ranks information technology as its third largest expense today. Information technology wasn’t in the top 10 expenses for the company just a few years ago. Meanwhile, local accounting firms are now using artificial intelligence to conduct complex operations once reserved for humans. 

WIRED article warns of a hollowing middle class

One of the subjects of the article, MIT economist Andrew McAfee, points to the “polarization of the workforce” over the past three or four decades. In his presentation, McAfee focused on the troubling trend that job growth in the middle skill (and middle wage) areas has lagged behind growth of high-skill and low-skill jobs. Another concern they discussed as the threat artificial intelligence possess to many occupations including those requiring even advanced degrees.

Local workforce data will be important

Throughout my time at Talent 2025, the consistent refrain from educators was the need for better data on what West Michigan employers needed. Good data wasn’t available. As a result, they were cutting training and education programs when employers had filled positions those programs developed. 

Because of the changing talent needs for employers in all sectors, and the impending changes to these industries by automation and AI, solid local labor market data is needed to help drive alignment in the talent system over the next decade. While we’re looking forward to prepare for these changes, Talent 2025 is collecting and analyzing local workforce data now, such as in our annual West Michigan Talent Assessment and Outlook report.

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